I am sitting in a pub in the Lake District in England, with a pint of real beer and a broadsheet newspaper in front of me. Outside, ignoring the low clouds and the rain, the hills in view seemingly tessellate at impossible angles into the sky. My word, I love this place. The weird thing though is that when I used to live in England and have this glorious picture on my doorstep, I am sure I took it for granted. So now, living in Vietnam, what do we all take for granted?
The main thing that we take for granted is money. If you had witnessed my face having to pay over £5 for a pint and a soda water, you would realise that living in Vietnam would give you options because of the cost of living here. When I talk about options, think about why you came here in the first place. Was it for work, a better life, to send money home, be closer to family or even ‘to find yourself’? If it was the last one, I have to say the only thing you will find will be your inner alcoholic.
Living in Vietnam gives you options, and more importantly, time and distance from your old life to make some major choices. I am lucky that I enjoy what I do for a living and the people that I work with are outstanding. Not everyone is in the same boat, though. Some old timer from my first posting abroad in Moscow once told me, “You live thousands of miles away from home, if you are unhappy or want to do more with your life or work, change something.”
This is made easier in Vietnam as the way of life allows you to plan for any major changes in your life. Any major change in your life needs money and it is a whole lot easier to save money here than in any major first world country at the moment. If you need to change your life drastically, it will require retraining or further qualifications and education. You may need to bite the bullet and stay in your unhappy working environment for a while to build up your savings, but always look at the end goal. I know people that have done this to change their lives completely, doing everything from becoming a master brewer or going into law, to people who have had their first experience of teaching in a language centre to wanting to become a specialised teacher in an international school.
Save for a future that you are happy with, and remember, you are thousands of miles away from home, and if you are unhappy with your job, save, save and save some more and change it.
Paul McLardie is a partner at Total Wealth Management. Contact him at Paul.firstname.lastname@example.org